STYLE: Classical Tibetan art generally unites elements from a wide range of sources. In this painting it is primarily the color palette, with its dominant red, and the organization of the figures that are reminiscent of early Tibetan art. Such features have continued strongly in the art of the Ngor School of Tibetan Buddhism, of which this painting is an example. More recent features are the figures’ sense of movement, the main teacher’s seat and its curved back, the emphasis on textiles and their patterns, and the golden lotus flowers used throughout the painting, most curiously decorating the petals of the lotus on which the teacher sits.
CONTENT: As an inscription on the painting clarifies, this work depicts Buddhashri (1339–1419), the Tibetan master who transmitted the key “Path with the Fruit” instructions to Ngorchen Kunga Zangpo (1382–1456), the founder of Ngor Monastery. The patron of the painting appears in the bottom row, the second figure from the left, humbly supplicating. He is Lhachok Sengge (1468–1535), the ninth abbot of Ngor Monastery, who is also depicted in the ivory sculpture around the corner. The buddha of long life, Amitayus, is depicted twice, and in the bottom row, just opposite the donor, are the goddesses Prajnaparamita and Vajravarahi.